Expanded role for well known Laois Parish Priest

Changes also in big Laois Offaly town announced by Bishop Denis Nulty

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly




Fr Paddy Byrne

Two Laois parishes are to share one parish priest under changes announced by the Bishop of the Kildare and Leighlin.

Fr Paddy Byrne, who is the Parish Priest (PP) of Abbeyleix and Raheen is to have his role extended to take in the nearby Ballinakill Parish. Fr Seán Conlon the current PP Ballinakill is to become PE CC Ballinakill, Abbeyleix & Raheen. He is retiring but will assist Fr Byrne.

The Catholic Church press office said Fr Byrne's new role, which commences on September 4, does not mean a merger of the two parishes.

Fr Byrne, a Carlow native, is a previous Portlaoise Parish curate. He is well known for his commentary on religious and social affairs on national media. He is a leading opponent of the direct provision system for accomodating asylum seekers.

Bishop Denis Nulty also confirmed changes in the Portarlington and Emo area. Fr Joe O’Neill, who was on loan to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, is to become CC Emo & Portarlington. Fr Pat Hughes is moving from the position of CC in Emo and Portarlington to become PP Myshall and Clonegal in Carlow.

Bishop Nulty commented on the diocesan appointments.

“These have been a very difficult few months on all of us, our parishes, our families and personally; none more so than our priests serving at the frontline of parish duty. As we are emerging gently out of lockdown, celebrating Masses with limited congregations reminds us we have to learn to live alongside the Covid-19 virus.

"The demands at parish level are huge, there is the urgency to ‘catch up’ on missed sacramental moments and there is that very real fear of what a ‘second wave’ might mean. And, in the middle of it all, there are diocesan appointments that must be made.

“Changing parish is never easy for priests or their parishioners and changing parish in the middle of a pandemic is a huge ask. I sincerely thank all the priests involved in this year’s appointments.

“The announcement last January of Father Paul Dempsey’s appointment as Bishop of Achonry was a huge moment for our diocese. It is great for Kildare & Leighlin, to see one of our own, with his gifts and potential, recognised by Pope Francis. I wish Paul every grace and blessing and ask you all to remember him as he prepares for his Episcopal Ordination in Ballaghaderreen on 30 August.

“I also wish the priests who are retiring from Parish Priests’ duties this year, Fr Seán Conlon and Fr Adrian Carbery, every blessing as they assume less onerous duties in their respective parishes. I wish Fr Eddie Kavanagh a full recovery and good health in his retirement. I thank all our priests who have accepted new and additional responsibilities. I welcome two new priests who will be joining us – Fr Robert Petrisor comes from Bucharest in Romania and Fr Yanbo Chen SVD who was ordained from Maynooth last year,” he said.

The full Kildare & Leighlin diocesan appointments are as follows:

·         Father Ruairí Ó’Domhnaill Adm. Cathedral to become PP Newbridge in succession to Father Paul Dempsey, Bishop Elect of Achonry

·         Father Liam Morgan PP Naas, Sallins, Two Mile House to become VF Kildare & Leighlin North Deanery, retaining responsibility for Parish Renewal & Development

·         Father Seán Conlon PP Ballinakill to become PE CC Ballinakill, Abbeyleix & Raheen

·         Father Adrian Carbery PP Kildare to become PE CC Kildare

·         Father Eddie Kavanagh PP Balyna to retire

·         Father Paddy Byrne PP Abbeyleix & Raheen to become also PP Ballinakill

·         Father Andy Leahy PP Tullow to become PP Kildare

·         Father Seán Maher CC Naas, Sallins, Two Mile House to become PP Balyna and Diocesan Scripture Resource Person

·         Father Thomas O’Byrne PP Myshall & Clonegal to become Adm. Cathedral & to assist at Bishop’s House

·         Father Brian Maguire SPS CC Cathedral to become PP Tullow

·         Father Pat Hughes CC Emo & Portarlington to become PP Myshall & Clonegal

·         Father Joe O’Neill who was on loan to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to become CC Emo & Portarlington

·         Father Gaspar Habara SVD CC Kildare to become CC Cathedral

·         Father Yanbo Chen SVD to reside in Cathedral Presbytery and to assist in the wider area

·         Father Robert Petrisor (Archdiocese of Bucharest, Romania) to become CC Naas, Sallins, Two-Mile-House

The Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin includes Co Carlow and parts of counties Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Kilkenny, Wicklow and Wexford. There are 56 parishes and 117 churches in the diocese. For more see www.kandle.ie